Friday, February 04, 2005

Return to Halo 2

Nope, this isn't a post about sequels. In honor of our resurrected Halo 2 nights, I'm throwingup a link to a late review posted recently over at While the writing leaves something to be desired, the sentiments are great. This is a player who clearly loves Halo, but is conflicted over Halo 2's shortcomings, just as I was in many ways.
On the graphical glitches: "During cinematics and gameplay alike, the player is greeted at almost every room entry, quick turn, or camera change with simple coloured blocks,mossy green or ocean blue figures, that are quickly gone over with another level of texture and detail to bring them up to par, as though 'the gnomes' had been slacking in their efforts to create the world ahead of you. Peripheral vision shows a brown box; turning towards it shows a shaded crate; looking away slightly replaces it with the same flat placeholder. While some of the things that have changed in-game are a matter of preference and will merely take some time to get used to, this is unacceptable."

On the story: "But as it stands the game is unfulfilling, not leaving you an artistic cliffhanger or with a feeling of curious suspense, but rather of disappointment and irresolution; the game is obviously not finished, and while the ending was 'intentional' (as though someone was accusing it of being 'accidental'), it remains unfinished, both in its entirety and in detail, by their own admission. Yes, there is certainly the possibility of a third installment, or even a 2.5, but this is hardly consoling; I have already spent my money, and have little desire to spend another bundle to merely get what was originally promised. It is the principle of the thing."

The author also touches on much more granular issues like weapon balance, difficulty, inadequacy of coop, and level design. After all is said and done, the mere addition of Xbox Live support catapults Halo 2 into "great game" status for me, but for some interesting critiques from someone who's clearly thought a lot about it, this article is well worth a read.


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